The Episode Community
I really think episode is a very unique and fun medium to create stories and make our characters/visions come to life without needing to have a budget to create something like a short film or tv show. In fact, I feel like it can actually help develop a real creative directing style similar to that needed in the production of a movie/script. It’s not just fun to create the stories as a writer, but it’s fun to read them (obviously). I stopped reading episode for a few years when I became a creator (mostly cause I got too anxious reading stories that were better than mine, luckily I don’t have that issue anymore as they just inspire me) but now that I read again, I can say with confidence that getting invested in characters through episode stories is just as fun as creating them.
With that being said, I still see a much smaller community than episode once had… and I have to wonder- what could be changed within episode to fix this issue? I’d love to hear y’all’s ideas- who knows? Maybe these suggestions could actually be considered and even better, change the trajectory episode is going in.
Episode app changes
Ads and Gems
Maybe the issue lies in the user experience. Even if that isn’t the only issue or main issue, it is 100% an issue. As someone who has gotten back into reading episode stories, I have been deterred from going into the app to read (even if I’m really into a story) because of the ADS. And past that, the gems being very prevalent throughout all aspects of the app to the point where you would have to spend copious about of money to skip ads, make gem choices, and support authors. I understand that episode needs to get their bag, but I can’t help but wonder if there are better ways to do this that doesn’t isolate the average person. I’ve seen some apps offer an option to watch a series of ads to earn tokens, or in this case, gems- so maybe that could be a less in-your-face option to be able to save up gems and not have to worry about watching the ads when you just want to get to the next chapter. Honestly, it’s hard to find a solution because no matter what, ads are going to be a factor episode needs to make money to continue operations. What do you think?
Episode Originals vs Community Stories
I’ve noticed that episode has made it harder to find community stories, and also has begun pushing originals a lot more. I think you have to read a certain amount of originals to even access community stories with a new account? Correct me if I’m wrong. But I think the issue with this is obvious. Making it harder for community authors to be noticed isn’t motivating at all and doesn’t reflect the kind of quality and creativity you will get in a community story vs an original. Honestly, the only time I’ve ever read originals (excluded the older ones that slapped) is when I’m unfortunately laughing at the absurdity and generic nature of some of them. I think episode just needs to bring back the community tab and make more of an effort to produce quality stories on their end. There are ways to draw people into the drama and romance without doing what they’re doing now.
How Episode Presents itself
In terms of digital footprints, episode hasn’t left the greatest ones. Their ads promoting the app are mostly cringe and sometimes straight up gross. It feels cheap and desperate and makes the entire app look like a joke. Simple advertising solution: literally take an interesting section from a story, make it out of context to leave people curious, and just allow the ad viewer to tap on the screen as if they’re reading a story. When they’re about to get to the juicy part, cut it off. Cheap? Maybe a little. But at least it would be a genuine preview of what the app is with a quality story that reflects the better parts of the app. Give people a chance to be interested, showcase great quality so the writers of episode originals are more incentivized to create great quality. Maybe even showcase sections of community stories? That one’s a long shot, but it would be a great way to show your community that you care.
When Episode was Relevant
I think episode was most relevant when the Demi Lovato: Path to Fame story came out, or maybe that’s just when I was most invested. But even though thats what made episode popular, I don’t necessarily think that means they need to try to re-live that in order to get a boost. I think we need a new fresh original take on how to at least re-gain the audience episode once had. This section isn’t so much a solution as it is a recommendation to episode to not try to repeat what used to work- I feel like that strategy was relying on outside titles and not so much on regular original stories created just for episode.
Episode needs to make some changes if they don’t want to alienate their readers and writers. I joined the community many years ago, and the size of people willing to participate has cut in half, maybe even more. I love the idea that we can give people an opportunity to let their imagination turn to stories with characters that readers become genuinely invested in, just as they might with a mainstream movie or tv-show. I’d love to see this app continue to grow in the right direction, it just needs the right solutions.
Let me know your thoughts, this is definitely up for discussion and debate!